What Is Gymnastics?

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Gymnastics is a set of exercises that date back to ancient Greek civilization. It was a sport created to aid in body development. Gymnastic events included running, wrestling, swimming, throwing and weight lifting. Modern gymnastics was adapted by Friedrich Ludwig Jahn.

Jahn developed the parallel bars, balance beam, side bar, horizontal bar and the jumping events that are part of Gymnastics today. Gymnastics made its way to the United States in the 1880s after being brought here by European immigrants. Clubs were formed and gymnasts were originally known as “turners.” Men’s gymnastics was first introduced in the modern Olympics in 1896. Women did not participate in the all-round Olympic events until 1936. It was not until 1952 that separate events were added for women.